My 8 Healthy Habits For Improved Health and Wellbeing



Making healthy changes in life is hard, no matter how much determination we have or how much we want it, change is no easy task, but there's a lot we can do take make it easier on ourselves. One thing to keep in mind when making changes is that it's not a race, slow down, pace yourself and introduce change bit by bit to avoid overwhelming yourself. Planning is a really useful way to keep yourself from making changes too fast, write out a plan of the things you want to change and your reasons why. Exploring the 'why' can help you to understand yourself more and find out if there are certain ways you can apply the changes to benefit you better. Be sure to think of various ways that you could apply these changes without causing too much disruption and write them all down. I find one of the best ways to create a healthy change in life is to introduce it as a habit. Habits are much easier to pick up as they are a mini breakdown version of a big change. Creating one or two small healthy habits can be a really great way to get started on a bigger change such as eating healthier for example. Also studies show that if you complete your new habit at the same time each day it is more likely to stick and become part of your normal everyday routine.

Another great tool after the planning stage is to think about changing your perspective/situation on the good habits you want to start. Jeremy Dean, author of Making Habits, Breaking Habits, says "One of the best ways of changing an existing habit is to change the situation." I think this also applies to new habits that you are wanting to start but are feeling a bit reluctant. Say for example the change is to eat a banana each time you are about to reach for a chocolate bar, you may not look forward to it at first. However, if you change your situation and perspective of it and associate the banana with something more positive, such as taking a 5 minute break while you have your snack and allowing yourself that time to relax, you would then start to look forward to eating that banana. Trust me, I've tried and tested this one!

Once you have successfully started one new healthy habit you will feel so much more able to start a few more, here's my 8 healthy habits that I have introduced into my daily life.



1. Morning Tonic:

Choose hot or warm water over cold, especially first thing in the morning. This is a recommended and traditional Ayurvedic practise used to flush the lymphatic system, strengthen the digestive system and reduce metabolic waste. Every morning I mix 1/2 cup boiled water with 1/2 cup filtered water to cool it down. After drinking the majority of this I fill the cup back up again and add in 1 tsp ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) occasionally also with some freshly squeezed lemon juice and drink with a stainless steel straw to protect my teeth - this is my morning tonic. If you make ACV tonics always be sure to get the ratios right, a safe mix is 1 part ACV to 10 parts water.

2. No screens before 8am:

We've all heard about the effects of blue light emitted from our everyday devices and it's definitely not breaking news anymore, but that doesn't mean that it's no longer important to monitor. I find that I'm actually really sensitive to staring at screens for a long period of time and that early in the morning my eyes just can't tolerate them. Unfortunately I've suffered the effects of eye strain far too many times leading to headaches, migraines and even insomnia, so I decided to put some time limits on for myself which I've roughly been sticking to for the past month and feel so much better. My phone used to be the first thing I'd look at in the morning, now it's the last thing I look at before I leave the house for work and I really don't miss it.

3. Make the bed the first thing in the morning:

I remember reading somewhere that this is actually recommended for help with productivity and mental wellbeing. Which now makes sense as to why I've always felt the need to set the bed after getting up everyday. "A tidy bed just feels better" I would think to myself, but now I understand why,  it's actually proven to boost our productivity for the day and helps us feel ready to tackle other tasks as we have already achieved one within minutes of being awake! I came across this idea again a few months ago as it was echoed in the speech from Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, if you haven't heard his speech yet go watch it now, it's an absolute must! In his opening sentence he says "if you wanna change the world, start off by making your bed."  Who knew there were such amazing mental benefits of simply just making your bed each day!

4. Start noticing your self talk:

This is hands down one of the best things I have ever done in my life. For those who aren't sure what I mean by 'self talk' I mean that voice in your head, you, the voice that talks to you everyday without you even realising. Your inner voice or self talk is one of the most powerful things as it can have a huge impact on everything from your beliefs, self esteem, confidence and decisions. I used to be an extremely negative person but completely believed I was just being realistic. I had so many negative beliefs and would easily get caught up in a depressive state of mind and struggled so much to pull myself out. It was only until I started learning about self talk and inner critics that I decided to pay attention to what I was telling myself in my head. It wasn't long until I noticed that so many of my negative downward spirals started with my inner voice saying "I just feel like..." This sentence would then finish with something along the lines of "they don't like me, I'm useless, I can't cope etc". Every time I heard myself say this I stopped, I completely cut it short and purposely moved onto a more positive thought. Fast forward a few years and those "I just feel like" voices are much more few and far between, now my subconscious is completely wise to them and notices as soon as my inner voice utters those words. The result now is that it makes me smile and I literally laugh at how well in tune I am with myself. It takes time and practise for your subconscious mind to notice your negative self talk but don't give up because the benefits are unbelievable!

5. Add 1 extra portion of fruit/veg each day:

Ok, so we all know fruit and veg is healthy and important but so many of us struggle to get the recommended daily portions. It's an easy thing to forget and especially if there's no time to prepare your own meals and you are having to rely on coffee shops or cafes for your food. One thing I started doing to increase my daily portions was simply to have 1 extra piece of fruit a day. This is so much easier than trying to think of multiple fruits/veggies to add in and various ways to do so all at the same time. Baby steps are key!

6. Replace afternoon chocolate bar with a banana:

A few years ago I worked in an office where I had a vending machine directly opposite my desk, and it was all too tempting. I got into a habit of buying chocolate everyday whenever I was craving something sugary, and my daily chocolate bar ended up being a daily craving. Remember how I mentioned that habits take best effect when done at the same time everyday? Well at 3pm every single day I started craving chocolate and nothing would satisfy until I had a chocolate bar, my body had become so used to it. Obviously knowing this was not a great cycle to be stuck in I decided to substitute the chocolate bar with a banana. Less exciting but cheaper and healthier! I had to try and trick my body for the next couple of weeks by giving it natural fruit sugars with all the added benefits rather than the horrible refined processed rubbish I was used to. It didn't take long before I started craving fruit as my sugar fix and now I honestly can't go a day without it. And I still have my 3pm banana!

7. Stretch:

Even though I am the sort of person that can sit still for long periods of time, my body hates it! My body definitely feels at it's best just after an hour pilates or yoga session where I can stretch everything out and ease my muscles. I struggle a lot with back and neck ache and because of this I find it impossible not to stretch multiple times throughout the day. I'm so used to stretching at any time or place now that sometimes I don't even realise I'm doing it. Even in the middle of work, people are so used to seeing me stretch everyday that they walk past and say "ahh Alison's just doing her stretches again" it's actually pretty funny. Stretching helps to take the stress off your muscles, it helps to relax you and increases your blood flow so it's definitely worth taking a few minutes out of your day to stretch.

8. No screens after 8pm:

I've already mentioned my 'no screens before 8am' rule, but I also have a rule for screen use after 8pm. These two rules go hand in hand with each other to help me limit my screen usage and also help me to switch off - technically and mentally. I find it far too easy to get caught up in flicking through Instagram or researching anything and everything online and I'm sure I'm not the only one. For someone that can struggle to sleep at night, screens are definitely not my friend in the evening. Staring at a screen just before you go to bed can stop your body from producing melatonin which is what we naturally produce to help us relax and fall asleep. Also consuming so much digital information, triggers our brain to stay active, which then becomes very difficult to reverse quickly, meaning that it takes us longer to fall asleep. Again I am not strict with this but I always use 8pm as a guide to remind myself screen time is nearly over for the day. This was pretty difficult to do at first but once you've mastered it for a few weeks it definitely gets easier and my sleep has improved unbelievably!

Hopefully this has given you some ideas of healthy habits you can start or even just given you a bit of extra motivation to continue your own healthy habits. And remember, if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.


Testing Out The Green People Aloe Vera Range

I've been a fan of Green People for a long time and they were actually one of the first brands that I came across and tried when I made my switch to natural products. For those of you who don't know, Green People is a natural skincare brand that has been making products for over 20 years. I've really enjoyed trying out their Aloe Vera range and I can guarantee that you will too. I would recommend this range to anyone but particularly those with sensitive skin like me that have to be careful with certain products and ingredients. Luckily Green People uses the most natural organic ingredients and keeps out the commercial nasty ones like sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, alcohol, or synthetic fragrances/colourants. Oh and not to forget, they never ever test on animals! What more could you want...



After being on holiday recently I couldn't believe how dry my hair was and I realised I was desperately in need of a gentle but hydrating shampoo, luckily I had this one waiting for me when I got home, it honestly rescued my hair! I really love this shampoo, it has a very mild scent and is the most gentle one I've ever used, it's a dream for my sensitive scalp. Sometimes trying a new shampoo can be a little risky for me as I'm prone to eczema and dermatitis but thankfully as this contains so many natural and organic ingredients I didn't have any irritation at all. As well as this shampoo being so lovely and gentle I was also really happy with how little was needed for each wash. A small amount goes a very long way and so for someone who washes their hair everyday I was so happy that I was doing a celebration dance in every shower! 5/5



I highly recommend this shower gel if you have sensitive skin like me as it is so gentle with a very mild scent, just like the shampoo. Again with so many natural organic ingredients this stuff worked beautifully causing no irritation but simply soothed my skin after spending a week in the sun (with a little sunburn...oops!) Again similar to the shampoo only a small amount is needed and it lathers up nicely. I accidentally used this on my hair one day thinking it was the shampoo as the bottles look the same and it actually worked really well on my hair so don't worry if the same thing happens to you, you'll still have beautifully fresh hair! 5/5



One of the first things I changed when I started my switch to natural products was my deodorant. It is so important to avoid using ones containing aluminium as it is linked to many cancers, disorders and diseases, if you want to find out more about it there is so much information online that explains the dangers in more depth. I like to keep a variety of natural deodorants in my bathroom so that I can alternate between them once in a while to prevent my body getting too used to them, so I was excited to add this one to my collection and give it a try. I really put this one to the test because as soon as I started using it the weather went crazy hot and we had a good few weeks of constant sunshine and heat. I liked using this deodorant as it felt very light in comparison to some I've used in the past, it absorbed well and didn't mark my clothes. I did however feel that it didn't keep me feeling quite as fresh as I would have liked, overall I do think it's a good product but maybe one to keep in my cupboard for those days when I'm not running around as much and when the weather is a bit cooler. 3/5



I was a bit dubious about the citrus in this at first as I'm not a fan of fruity flavours in toothpaste and I really thought I wouldn't like it, but I was pleasantly surprised. With toothpaste I tend to prefer ones that contain fluoride and seeing as this one doesn't I saved it for times in-between brushing. Instead of using it in the morning and before bed, I kept it as a way to freshen up throughout the day and I found it's such a good alternative to chewing gum and mints. I like to keep this in my bag especially on busy days when I know I will be out all day going to different places and even for travelling when you don't feel so fresh after long hours on a plane or in the car, I found it a good little habit to get into just to swish around my mouth with some water with no brush even needed! 4/5

Hope you have enjoyed this review of the Green People Aloe Vera range and hopefully it has been helpful for those who are yet to try out the products or if you are thinking of switching to greener skincare products. I have linked all the products in their titles and as always thanks for reading!

Travelling with Anxiety


I recently went on holiday to Gran Canaria and as I've not been away anywhere in a while I had forgot all about the anxiety that I feel with holidays. This has always been the case for me but for a long time I didn't really recognise it as anxiety and just put it down to excited nerves of doing something that was out of my ordinary everyday life. It's only recently as I have learnt more and more about anxiety and am much more able to recognise my thoughts and feelings that I have realised I do experience some levels of anxiety when travelling. 

For me it usually starts not long after booking a trip, I find the intrusive "what if" thoughts slowly start to creep into my mind. These thoughts can differ from slight worries such as "what if I don't like the hotel or food", to more catastrophic thinking such as "what if the planes crashes, what if I get attacked by someone" etc. These thoughts are all just the anxious messages creeping into my mind and I have learnt how to deal with them in different ways. Another thought I tend to have niggling in the back of my mind is "what if I feel anxious when I'm there", when I recognise this thought popping into my mind it kind of makes me laugh a little because it makes me realise that I'm anxious about feeling anxious which is just a circle of anxiety in itself.

The morning that I was getting ready to head for the airport I recognised all the typical symptoms of anxiety that I usually experience, increased heart rate, shallow breathing, heart pounding and stomach cramps. I was expecting it and it didn't surprise me at all. These are the exact same feelings I get every time. The good thing was that as soon as I sat down on the plane the anxiety melted away on it's own and I knew that it was going to be fine.
During my holiday I was curious to see if I experienced any anxiety while away, this isn't something I would usually think about but recently (especially over Christmas) I've experienced anxiety when I've found myself out of my normal routine with nothing much to fill my time with, it's felt like a vast emptiness which completely scared and unsettled me. Luckily while away I didn't feel this and I was so pleased even though I had prepared a back up plan just incase I found myself anxious with nothing to do.

I had got through the holiday with no anxiety, which felt great, but the journey home was a different story. I had 3 hours sleep before my alarm went off to get me up at 3am and ready for the flight home. I hadn't eaten breakfast as it was so early and I had been busy packing and making sure to get the transfer on time. I got to the airport and started to feel hot and faint. I often suffer from low blood pressure and I don't do well if I skip a meal, I could feel myself start shaking and I knew I needed to sit down and eat. After I had eventually eaten and started queuing up to board the plane (still feeling ill and faint) the anxiety hit me. "What if I pass out on the plane?" "What if I need oxygen?" "What if I have a panic attack?" "What if this isn't my blood pressure but something much more serious?" "What if I'm about to die?" Within a matter of seconds I recognised my thoughts, it was the anxiety fuelled "what ifs" coming back again and I started to realise that the way I was feeling would most likely be down to anxiety and no longer my low blood pressure.

I sat down and decided to draw upon the skills I've learnt to get me through the bout of anxiety, and after only a few minutes of doing this I felt almost completely back to my normal self again.
I couldn't believe it, it proved to me that all the knowledge and tools I now have really do work and it  made me want to share them so that other people can use them through anxious times.


My Top Tips For Dealing With Anxiety When Travelling

1. Practise mindfulness and focussing your attention

Like anything this takes practise, but I always find it helps if I'm able to bring my focus to something other than my anxiety. In social situations I find this particularly helpful, as soon as I recognise that I'm feeling anxious or have those intrusive thoughts I redirect my attention and really try to focus on something else, usually it will be something that I'm looking at or a conversation that I'm having or can hear. This works by getting you out of your mind and grounding you by shifting your focus away from the worries and anxiety and onto something more real and present.


2. Pack with a plan

This is something I only did for the first time on my recent holiday but I was so glad that I did! Packing for your trip is so important as it allows you to be prepared and have things accessible to you. For example in my hand luggage I decided to take my iPad to watch a film on the plane as a good way to pass time and also to hold my focus and attention. I packed this so it was easy to grab while on the flight and had it preloaded with a variety of films and tv shows so I had a few options to switch up what I was watching incase a particular film wasn't keeping me interested enough, (I recommend downloading Friends, I found it difficult to feel anxious while laughing at Ross getting the most hilarious spray tan!) I also packed a variety of magazines, a lavender pulse point oil for relaxation, lots of food, snacks and drinks, I had music downloaded and a fan to cool me down as anxiety makes me soo hot! Another idea is to find some podcasts that you can download and listen to offline, often you can find mindfulness sessions and guided meditations that would be perfect.


3. Question unhelpful thoughts

As I mentioned above, I often get plagued with intrusive anxious thoughts ranging from mild worries to catastrophic thinking. I deal with these in different ways. With the catastrophic thoughts I am more able to notice these as they are quite extreme and more out of the ordinary for me to think about, so being able to recognise them is easier but still very important. Once you've noticed the thoughts I find it helpful to question them. I ask myself "how likely is it that the thought would actually happen?" Realistically and statistically it's actually extremely unlikely. "What proof/evidence do I have that the thought might happen?" I have zero proof/evidence. "What proof/evidence do I have that the thought won't happen?" Honestly quite a lot, I've had the thought many times before and it's never happened. "Why am I having these thoughts then?" Because I'm feeling anxious and that's exactly what anxiety does. Questioning my thoughts in this way helps me to realise what my mind is doing and helps me to see my thoughts for what they really are, which allows me to relax and feel much more grounded.

With the milder worrying anxious thoughts I take a slightly different approach. I still question the thoughts I'm having but in a very different way. Say for example my thought is that I won't like the hotel or food, my question would be "Yeah maybe you won't like them....so what?" Even just this question alone starts to make me realise it's not a big deal but my mind will still try to back up the thought. If I don't like the hotel or food then I won't want to be there and might not have much to eat. "So what can you do to fix the problem?" I suppose I won't be spending much time in the hotel anyway so I could just use it as a base to keep my stuff and sleep. For the food there will probably be other places to eat, cafes, restaurants etc. "So what are you worrying for?" I don't know, it's just my anxiety. 


4. Plan your time wisely

Planning ahead for travelling is obviously what we all naturally do anyway, but planning ahead for times when we might feel anxious is something more to consider, but also be careful not to plan ahead so much so that you end up anticipating and bringing on your anxiety. So for me, I was aware I might become anxious if I had too much time on my hands and nothing to fill it with. This is a common anxiety trigger for a lot of people but it's a fairly new one for me but luckily I feel I am able to deal with it now. I love a holiday filled with laying out in the sun, long walks and lots of relaxing, I've never really had an activity filled holiday. This one was slightly different for me in the sense that I was aware I'd previously started to feel anxious at times when I had nothing to do or focus on. So I thought it would be a good idea to make a back up plan and research things to do before I got there so if I was ever in need of something to fill my time with I could just go and do it. Good things to plan could be water sports, day trips on a boat, iconic landmarks to visit, towns to explore, historical places to see etc, you get the idea. Having these things figured out in advanced helps so much just in itself to know that if you find yourself anxiously twiddling your thumbs, you have a back up plan prepared.


5. Breathing

There have been countless times in my life when I've tried focussing on my breathing after reading so much advice and evidence supporting how using your breathing helps dissolve your anxiety away. After trying and failing many times I gave up on it for years and assumed it was either a load of rubbish or for some reason didn't work for me. Oh how wrong I was! A couple of months ago I read another article talking about breath work and how to use your breathing in times of anxiety. One night shortly after this laying in bed I was hit with a bout of anxiety out of nowhere and decided to give breathing another go. I breathed in a deep breath and made sure to exhale much more slowly and repeated this sequence for a couple of minutes while I allowed all my thoughts to just come and go. After only a few minutes I realised the anxiety had melted away completely and then I began to worry that because I had noticed it would return. I carried on my breathing exercise and didn't feel any anxiety creep back. I cannot tell you how happy it has made me. This was the exact same technique that I used in the airport just before my flight home during that unexpected hit of anxiousness. I think understanding more about how it actually works helps a great deal. In one way it works as a focus for your attention, as I mentioned earlier, finding something to focus your attention on is a very useful skill. And also something I only learnt recently is that by taking in a deep breath, not only does it allow your body more oxygen, it also gives you more air to be able to exhale slowly. The slow exhale is very important as it is the exhale part of breathing where your body relaxes and sends messages to your brain signally that there is no danger and that you are in a calm state. I use this breathing technique so often now and it never fails me. If you struggle to find relief with breath work please keeping practising as it really does work.


6. Give yourself a break 

Finally I just wanted to talk about the importance of not beating yourself up about struggling with anxiety. I've been there and it does absolutely nothing to help you it just makes situations feel so much worse. When you give yourself a hard time over feeling anxious take note of your inner voice, how you speak to yourself and the things that you say. My inner voice used to be so critical and harsh until I realised I needed to change it. Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life and yes there are people who struggle with it more, me being one. But that's even more reason to show yourself some compassion and give yourself a break. Stop any negative inner voices as soon as you hear them and turn them into something positive and supportive. I always used to find it helpful to ask myself, "would I speak to a friend this way" almost always the answer was no, so I knew I had to change it. Accepting anxiety is not an easy thing to do as the default reaction in us is to fight with it, or avoid it but unfortunately neither of those things work. The best way to deal with it is to accept it, and even to accept that you might always feel anxious from time to time but the important thing is to learn skills and tools that you can draw upon whenever needed and also to work towards a future where anxiety doesn't play as big a part in your life.


I really hope you've found this post helpful, I didn't realise how much I had to say until I started typing! If you do experience anxiety you are definitely not alone and there is always help available in so many different ways. Always talk to someone, you can even message me! 
Happy travels!


Easter Treats - Almond Muffins with Strawberry Chia Jam




Fancying something different to chocolate eggs this Easter? Give these a try! Super simple to make and they taste delish!

Recipe makes 12 muffins

Muffins:

300g Ground Almonds
300ml Full Fat Coconut Milk
2 Organic Free Range Eggs
1 Pinch Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
4tbsp Honey
1 Vanilla Pod, scraped

Jam:

200g Strawberries
3tbsp Chia Seeds
2tbsp Honey
1 Vanilla pod, scraped

Method

Preheat oven to 180c.
Mix the almonds, salt and baking soda in a bowl then mix the coconut milk, eggs, honey and vanilla pod into a separate bowl. 
Combine the two bowls and mix together well. 
Pour the mixture into the muffin holders making sure not to over fill as the mixture will rise when cooking. 
Bake for 20 mins.

While the muffins bake, blend the strawberries, honey and vanilla pod in a food processor and puree until smooth.
Pour into a bowl and add in the chia seeds. Let the mixture sit for 15 mins stirring every 5 mins until it thickens into a jam consistency.
Let the muffins cool on a wire rack once baked and then top them with the strawberry jam to serve.








Recipe courtesy of Seasonal Berries

Weleda Products Review



About a month ago now I had a bit of a mini Weleda haul while shopping on Naturisimo and decided to buy some products I had been wanting to try for a while. I love the ingredients and values of Weleda and this was the first time I had tried anything from their line. I've had so many questions from people wanting to know what I thought of these products and if I would recommend them so I figured I'd put all my reviews and opinions together here. Some great and some not so great, but always my honest opinion.




Reading the reviews of this product I was so excited to try it as I have been wanting a really moisturising body wash for ages and hadn't come across one that actually made much difference to my skin. I loved the smell of this, it's a very floral scent but not too overpowering and very subtly lingers on your skin after using it. When I first used it I noticed it was a really creamy formula which gave me high hopes for it's moisturising skills! This bottle lasted me about 3 weeks and during that time I did notice that my skin felt a lot softer but in terms of dryness I didn't see a massive difference. I did find that I was still having to moisturise my skin just as frequently as when I was using other body washes. So, slightly disappointing in that sense but overall I do think it's a lovely product, the scent is yummy and it will make your skin feel more silky!




Body moisturiser is honestly the bane of my life as I suffer from dry, sensitive skin and always try to use the most natural products I can find. I am forever on a quest for a gentle, natural moisturiser but one that works miracles on dry skin. Let me tell you the quest ain't an easy one. This lotion however did come close to being my favourite find! It says that it is a particularly mild formula for sensitive and irritable skin and it restores the skins natural PH balance while providing long lasting moisture. I can actually say that this was one of the nicest moisturisers I have ever used, the smell is very mild and almost reminds me of coconut milk. I didn't expect the consistency to be as liquidy as it was, as I usually opt for a creamier body butter but figured I'd give it a go. I liked using this straight after a shower and after using the Weleda Creamy Body Wash as the combination really did leave my skin feeling dreamy. The only down side to this product was that I didn't find it long lasting. The day after using it I couldn't tell that I had moisturised at all, I was having to use it everyday to keep up with my dry skin and I prefer something longer lasting so I'm not having to use it everyday. I don't know, maybe I'm just being too fussy? All in all I would definitely recommend it but do bare in mind you may need to use it everyday.




Skin Food. You odd little product. I bought this not really knowing where I could use it even though it does say on the tube "whole body cream". I assumed that it would be fine to use as an all over body moisturiser and maybe even a little on my face. So, after my shower one evening I decided to give it a try, opening the product the first thing I noticed was the distinct smell. It's quite a difficult scent to describe but the only way I can think of is a very VERY strong lime medicinal smell? In any case, not what I was expecting at all. The second thing I noticed was how thick the formula was, I'm not talking cream/butter here but more of a very thick salve. Anyway I went ahead and applied it all over my body and within about 20-30 minutes was feeling very ill and faint. The smell was honestly that strong that I was dizzy, light headed and feeling very sick. After half an hour I couldn't stand it any longer and had to jump back in the shower and scrub it all off my skin. It actually took 2 showers to really get rid of it and I noticed the swirly film of grease it left in the water. I couldn't figure it out, maybe it's not meant to be used all over the body, I honestly don't know. But what I find even more confusing is how many people love this product! It was recommended to me by about 5 different people and I had seen it featured in numerous magazines. A week after my first failed attempt I decided to try using a very tiny amount on some particularly dry patches of skin I had on my temples near my hairline. It worked quite well but still the smell and thick greasy formula was just not for me. Sorry Weleda!




I love the idea of a bath milk and was so excited to try this, particularly because I was using it for the first time in a very luxurious bath while staying in a gorgeous spa hotel. I wanted to try this right before going to bed in the hope that it would send me straight to sleep and leave me feeling super relaxed. Never having used a bath milk before I had no idea how much I was supposed to use so ended up going slightly overboard and poured in almost half the bottle. Very indulgent indeed! The milk smells so good! Just like lavender essential oil and it did feel so relaxing and soft on my skin. Whether it was a coincidence or not I did feel very calm and slept like a baby that night so I'm guessing it did the trick. I can imagine this would be the perfect antidote after a long day at work or at the end of a stressful week to take a long hot bath and indulge as a treat. I can't wait to use this again, I'm saving it for when I'm really in need of some relaxation time, I just won't use half the bottle again next time!

As always thanks for reading and I hope this has given you a better idea for your Weleda purchasing decisions.

Homemade Hummus Recipe


If like me you are obsessed with Hummus then I highly recommend you make your own as you can have full control over the taste and texture. Even better it takes only 5 minutes and saves you buying store bought ones in nasty packaging!

Ingredients makes 1 Jar:

1 400g tin Chickpeas drained
1 tbsp Tahini
4 tbsp Olive Oil
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tbsp Water
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Cumin
Salt


Method:

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Store in the fridge in an air tight container for up to a week.




New Year Thoughts & Packaging Challenge


 It's a new year and a new post! I thought for a while about what my first post of 2018 could be, something super positive and motivational about new beginnings etc to kick start the new year? That's what I guess a lot of people would expect but to be honest the whole "New Year New Me" thing doesn't really do it for me. I prefer to start my year with a few ideas in mind and take my time over January to really think about the previous year and what really matters to me that I would like to work on for the year ahead.

So, no motivational speeches here I'm afraid, but possibly a few ideas that might help you think about what you would like to achieve or work on this year if you are still feeling unsure. For me, goals are not just a yearly task to set and achieve within a certain time frame, I prefer to work through mine at my own pace, alter or add goals as needed and I find it much more helpful to monitor my progress simply by how I feel. 

This might all sound a bit vague but I think gauging the progress of goals by how you feel is the best way to make sure you're heading in the right direction for you and it also allows you to really know if you are working on something that's important to you.



One of the main things I plan on working on this year is my relationships with friends and family. This is something that 10 years ago I wouldn't have even given a thought to, but over time (and through getting older!) I've started to realise this is something that's really important to me. Now I'm not saying that I have any bad relationships with friends or family at all, in fact all of them are great, but what I'm looking to work on is spending that bit more time together, going the extra mile for loved ones and really strengthening some relationships that are special to me. I'm genuinely so excited for this one, it's been something I've been thinking about the past couple of years and I'm so glad that I'm now in a place where I can really focus on making relationships even more meaningful.

The second goal I have in mind is to work on confidence- an ever long struggle of mine since the age of 4, throw in some confidence shattering college tutors along the way, a surprise bout of anxiety in my uni days and I have quite the task on my hands. But that's ok, I have a few plans up my sleeve and some methods in mind of ways to really start working on it this year. One of which is to stop judging myself so much and so harshly, and to not give myself a hard time on days when I feel less confident. I'm learning that nobody feels 100% confident every single day and it's completely normal for it to fluctuate, I just want to learn to roll with that and remind myself each day.



My next goals are some simpler ones that won't take as much work but will be really rewarding in the long run:

  • Reminding myself to be grateful for what I have - this one is starting to become an automatic thought for me most days and at the simplest of times, like when I'm eating some amazing food or getting into a warm cosy bed at night. Sometimes it can be easy to forget about these things, but it makes all the difference when you start noticing them.

  • Focussing on the positives of each day - this is a tricky one! When I've had a bad day I'm the queen of dwelling, dramatising and feeling miserable. But I've realised that this just makes me feel so much worse. A trick I've started doing is to tell myself (and other people) that I had a good day, even if it was terrible and all I want to do is hibernate in my bed and only resurface for food deliveries, I say "I had a great day" (usually in a sarcastic voice but that's something to work on another day). Also, I now try and take it one step further, and think about one thing that was ok or possibly even good about my day. It could be the tiniest of things, the traffic was ok on my commute, a friend sent me a nice message, the canteen lunch menu had an actual tasty AND healthy option, you get my point? Sometimes it just takes that one little thing to remind me that ok, maybe my day wasn't so bad.

  • Try out new forms of exercise - this is a fun one! So already I go to pilates and yoga classes every week, and I love them but really want to try something new and something that will challenge me in different ways. The first thing I've decided to try is spinning, I've never been to a spin class before and will admit I'm feeling slightly intimidated by what others have told me. Fast paced, no break, bum in the air cycling with a strict and shockingly vocal instructor. I'm half worried and half really excited, my first class will be sometime in February so I will report back after then. The next thing I'm also going to start is climbing. I have a fairly local climbing centre that I've been to once before so I've decided to revisit and really put some effort into making it a regular thing. This will definitely be challenging and a serious skill to work on but something I'm really looking forward to. 


Last but by no means least, I have decided to set myself a challenge for February. More and more recently I am learning about the effects of pollution on the environment and how non recyclable plastic packaging is playing a massive part in everything from pollution to contamination, injuring and even killing animals. I have seen so much more about it in the news lately and it seems that people including the government are actually starting to take notice and put plans in place to make a change, whether or not it's too late only time will tell. 

As someone who has avoided plastic packaging for some time now (for more of a food safety aspect), I started to look at the plastic packaging I had on other things like cosmetics, shampoos, shower gels etc and was really shocked to realise they weren't recyclable. It's honestly been playing on my mind so much that I decided to set myself the challenge to go plastic free for a month to see what other options are available and if they are easy enough to get hold of.

For all of February I will be making sure anything I buy whether it's clothes, food, or cosmetics will have either recyclable, biodegradable or better still, no packaging at all. I'm really interested to see what I can find and I'm really hoping there are some hidden gems of planet friendly packaging out there. If you would like to see how I get on along the way I'll be sharing the journey on my instagram



So there you have it, my recent life ponderings and current goals. Hopefully this has given you a few ideas of things you might like to work on for yourself this year or even just to bare in mind that goals don't need to be set in stone and monitored regimentally. See how you feel, if something doesn't feel right then spend some time thinking of ways to start changing it and just take it from there. 

Let me know what ideas you have for things in your life to work on, I would love to know!

As always thank you so much for reading, hope you enjoyed the post!


P.s) So much for this not being a motivational speech!